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an hour after leaving Tiberias we find the hills gradually recede, leaving a broad open plain—that of Gennesareth. The only sign of human habitation is a cluster of mud hovels near the water's edge. There are a few remains of other buildings, one of which seems to have been a watch-tower (Migdo/). A palm-tree rises from the centre of the village and a few thorn bushes cluster round it. The modern name Mejdel reminds us that this was MAGDALA, the place where our Lord came ashore after feeding the multitude on the opposite bank, and the home of Mary Magdalene.” Into the disputed questions as to her history we do not enter here. We know how great a debt of gratitude she owed to her Lord, who had delivered her from de
moniacal possession in its most aggravated form; and how fondly and devotedly she attached herself to His service, ministering to Him of her substance, waiting at His cross, present at His entombment, watching at His sepulchre, and first to welcome her risen Lord when He had burst “the bonds of death” and “led captivity captive.” As we stand amongst these crumbling ruins and squalid hovels we cannot but reflect upon the fact that through her the name of this spot has passed into all the languages of Christendom, is commemorated in the noblest ecclesiastical edifice of modern France, and holds a conspicuous place in our military history as that of the almost impregnable stronghold of a bloodthirsty Abyssinian tyrant. Every step we took in this district, hallowed by so many sacred associations, seemed to furnish a fresh commentary on the discourses of our Lord,
* Matt. xv. 32—39. * Matt. xxvii. 56-61; xxviii. 1. Mark xv. 40; xvi. 1-11. Luke viii. 2, 3; xxiv. Io. John xix. 25; xx. 1-18.
Every detail in the parable of the sower passed under our view—the hard pathway running through unenclosed fields upon which the seed fell without finding entrance, the soil choked with thorns through which the tender blades were struggling, the thin, shallow coating of earth resting upon the rock beneath, and the luxuriant growth of the rich deep loam bringing its return of a hundredfold to the sower. The edge of the lake is fringed with thickets of oleander in full bloom. The turf carpeted with an incomparable profusion of wild flowers, the variety and splendour of which surpassed all
that I had seen elsewhere, covered the earth with a mantle of beauty with which “Solomon in all his glory” could not vie.” Here and there is a fisherman who has cast off his “fisher's coat” and stands “naked” in the water “casting his nets,” or drawing them ashore, or examining his haul, choosing the good, rejecting the worthless.” Many travellers have spoken of the sudden and violent storms to which the lake is liable. This is common to all lakes surrounded by mountains. But the danger is greatly increased here by the depression * Matt. xiii. 3–9. * Ibid. vi. 28–29. * John xxi. 7. Matt. xiii. 47, 48.